Since my hands have been feeling better, I have gotten some much needed finishes on some old applique projects. I appliqued the last four blocks of the vintage Dresden Plate quilt, the only thing I allow myself to add to my vintage projects is muslin. A friend gave me the plates and a pile of extra wedges, I made enough additional plates to have a 4 x 5 block quilt top. The blocks are 16" square so they made a good size top, any more border and it would be too big and out of proportion. It really strained my vintage stash of fabric to get the long sashing strips, quiet a few of them are made with sewn scraps. I am also piecing together my "Dear Jane" border triangles. It is also all vintage fabric, I used the pastel solids to set with the pieced triangles. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the main blocks are all quilted in three sections, all in the ditch, whew, what a LOT of quilting. Now I'll quilt the triangle borders and be ready to put it all together. I am thinking about what my next art quilt will be, I have so many ideas, I just need to settle down and do something. Also the Fyber Cafe ladies are coming over to my house next week to do some ice dyeing, so I have been cleaning up the backyard.
I love garage sales, my husband and I usually went every Friday of "The season." I haven't been doing as much of it lately, but I did stumble on one late in the day, while out doing other errands. Whoopeee! I scored Vintage blocks and a vintage quilt top. I can't believe the antique dealers did not get them, they are like vultures at a garage sale. Most of the ones I get are from the 1920-1940 era but some are older. I won't pay $5 a block, which is what most antique dealers want for a single block, or even if it is a set of blocks 20 x 5 = too much money. I got a box of miscellaneous blocks for $10 yea. What I liked about this purchase was that there are sets of blocks, not enough to make a quilt, but I had been planning a row by row quilt, so it got me started on that. Some were 5 or 8 blocks, some just singles, in smaller 6" or 8" block sizes.
I got out some other boxes I had of vintage blocks and started to put them together in rows. The rows are about 60" wide, I'll get a finished size when I get all the rows made, and then finish off each by adding extra blocks, 1/2 blocks or just filler fabrics or sashing between blocks. The "improved 9 patch" blocks in the first picture had been removed from their white backing that was shredding, so I am hand appliqueing them to a muslin backing. Muslin is the only new fabric I allow myself to add, everything else is vintage.
The "hexagon flowers" at the left are made with English paper piecing, I had to remove the basting stitches and the manila folder hexagons. The 3/4" inch hexies are put together with a center, a solid ring and a print ring, I've pinned each flower to a muslin backing and I'll applique them in place. The next row is a "9 patch" with a wonderful wine colored print, then "Jacob's Ladder" in soft tan and blue on a white background. "Bow Tie" in bright large prints are hard to see, because of the lack of contrast and the busyness of the fabrics, they are made with set-in hand piecing.
After the bow ties are a set of quarter square triangles in red and blue prints, there is no fading on the bold colors of red, & blue, they might be even older then the 1920's. The red, white and blue solid fabrics make great contrast in the star row. They were however a bit wonky, and the centers don't match at all, and the points got cut off a lot because there was not enough seam allowance. I have two more if I have to make the row longer. There is also a set of 8 stars, made mostly with shirting plaids but they are made so badly, there is no way to redeem them, or to sew them together. On the far right are a set of "4 Patch" blocks with a common blue and white check print with flowers on it. I also have a set of "Fishes" blocks that are shaped like a volcano, the bias pieces are way too wonky to lay flat, they also have embroidered signatures. I will use two more rows, one is 8" "Dresden plates" set with sashing the same red as the stars. There are extra plates and extra sashing so I can finish several more blocks to make a row. I also have larger hexagons sewn into a flower, and mixed prints hexagons that I will sew to a muslin backing. A friend gave me a baggie of cut out butterflies in vintage fabrics and I think I'll applique them to 6" blocks of muslin. The quilt will be a good mix of pieced and applique blocks, after I finish the applique, I'll see how long it will make it. Then I'll start arranging them how I want the rows to be. I love playing with vintage fabrics, the prints are so unique and fun.
The Fyber Cafe textile arts group has a challenge this year, the theme is "The Path Less Traveled." I got my idea for my piece when I was out with my sister for lunch in Snohomish, Washington. As we were getting back in the car there was a fork leaning against the curb, ha ha ha, I stopped and took a photo if it. So I went to the Salvation Army thrift store and bought an assortment of forks, serving forks, wooden, plastic, different colors. I grabbed some of my own silverware and my camera and went to a newly paved and striped parking lot. I scattered the forks on the yellow and white lines, I made patterns, crossed them, and staggered them. When I went home I took a couple of pictures with the manhole covers in my street.
I printed the photos on fabric, with my computer printer. I make my own fabric sheets, treating the fabric with Bubble Jet Set, trimming to size, and ironing freezer paper on the back. I thought the black and yellow was too stark, and I could not get a really rich black to print on the fabric, so I changed the yellow stripes to different colors. I cut the photos up and arranged them on a muslin backing, and collaged them, overlapping and filling the space. The outline is wavy because it has to match the other artist's pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, and the path is continuous through all twelve pieces.
I free motion machine quilted, in matching rayon threads, mostly to outline each item. This photo is before the binding, I used a very narrow 1/8" bias binding. I also printed up some road signs I already had in my photo collection, and some words in different fonts, to show life changing moments where we might take a different path. It was fun coming up with different words, and I did not use all the ones I printed. I have always wanted to use my photos this way, and am glad I got the chance to do this technique.
The complete display of "The Path Less Traveled" by members of Fyber Cafe, at the Umpqua Valley Quilters' Show, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, in Roseburg, Oregon.